Worth it for the Spanish rendition—which those who don’t speak the language will be happy to have learned.


From the Canticos series

With this fifth addition to her Canticos line of songs for babies, Venezuelan-born Jaramillo partners Mexico’s Day of the Dead’s painted skeletons, or “calacas,” with a popular Latin American children’s song, “Los Esqueletos.”

This how-to-tell-time counting rhyme is punctuated by the catchy refrain “Tomb-a-laca tomb-a-laca tomb-a tomb-a, tomb-a-laca” and follows the nattily dressed skeletons as they emerge from their tombs (tumbas). The clock counts up from one to 12, while the bony party animals eat, dance, and play. The Spanish language lyrics beg to be shared with laugh-out-loud abandon. However, “esqueletitos” becomes the Spanglish word “skeletitos” instead of “little skeletons” for the sake of maintaining the meter. Unfortunately, this modification isn’t enough to make the stanzas work. The English-language translation is forced and awkward in too many instances. “When the old clock strikes the hour of three, / three skeletitos backwards flee!” Rather than rewriting the lyrics, Jaramillo must rely on near rhymes since the eye-catching black-and-white illustrations are identical for both versions. Sadly, aside from a clock with movable hands, the interactive elements of Jaramillo’s previous books are lacking here. The accordion-fold design, on the other hand, continues to ensure that neither the Spanish nor English text takes precedence over the other. A free downloadable app of the song is available for home enjoyment.

Worth it for the Spanish rendition—which those who don’t speak the language will be happy to have learned. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-945635-06-9

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Encantos

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.


From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere.


From the Animal Facts and Flaps series

Colorful, fun, and informative guide for pint-sized dinosaur enthusiasts.

Kid-friendly and more informative than most dino books for tots, this lift-the-flap dinosaur book is a great next step for any kid with an interest in the subject. Each double-page panorama—occasionally folding out to three or even four pages wide—is organized around types of dinosaurs or habitats. While most featured dinosaurs are land dwellers, prehistoric reptiles of the sea and sky appear as well. Dinosaurs are rendered in bright colors on a white background in a childlike style that makes even Tyrannosaurus rex not too terrifying. Make no mistake, though; the king of the dinosaurs is clearly labeled “CARNIVORE.” Folding T. rex’s head back reveals a black-and-white handsaw, to which the text likens its enormous, sharp teeth. Another marginal illustration, captioned, “Watch out! T. rex is looking for its lunch,” shows a Triceratops specimen on a plate. Yet another reads, “Crushed dinosaur bones have been found in T. rex poop!” Several racially diverse kids appear in each scene, like toddler scientists variously observing, inspecting, and riding on the dinosaurs depicted. In addition to teaching the difference between herbivores and carnivores, the book also conveys a sense of the scale of these prehistoric beasts: Diplodocus is two school buses long, a Triceratops adult is the size of an elephant, and a Velociraptor is the size of a turkey, for example.

Sure to appeal to budding paleontologists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0809-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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